RICHARD Cresswell intends to forge links with Premier League giants Manchester City in his new role as York City's development consultant.

The former Leeds and Sheffield United striker has returned to Bootham Crescent for a fourth time, having hung up his boots during his third spell as a City player back in December.

Since then, he has visited some of the country's leading academies and he hopes the contacts he has made and experiences he has gained will benefit his latest, wide-ranging position with the Minstermen.

Cresswell, 36, has been tasked with enhancing and improving the club's commercial, academy and community activity.

As part of that remit, he is hoping to ensure the Minstermen get their pick of talented released players from the likes of Manchester City.

He is also planning to incorporate some of the methods he has witnessed into the academy work at Bootham Crescent.

The example of current City midfielder Adam Reed, released by Sunderland last summer, illustrate the potential benefits of partnerships with bigger clubs and, on the opportunity to strengthen such relationships, Cresswell said: "One of the reasons I was over at Manchester City and have visited a few other clubs is to try and make that happen.

"Hopefully, with my contacts, we will see that develop although it might be a long-term project. I have been to quite a few academies to see how they implement ideas and help their kids progress.

"I've taken a lot in over the last few months and, hopefully, some of the stuff I have learned over my years in football as a player and a coach, I can bring to the club now in different areas. It's absolutely frightening what they are doing at Manchester City's new academy.

"They have spent £200million on it and it's great to see how the elite of the elite are operating. It opened my eyes.

"Obviously, we are not on that level but we can take a few things and use them in how we want to develop."

Bridlington-born Cresswell joined City at the age of 14 and, eight years later, earned the club £950,000 when he moved on to Sheffield Wednesday.

But, since then, the likes of former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson and current highly-rated Leeds full-back Sam Bryam, have been spirited away to Elland Road.

Cresswell, who has one son in City's academy and two others playing junior football at Dunnington, wants to put a stop to that and also make sure the club are first to spot talent on their own doorstep.

He added: "(City academy manager) Tony Mee and the academy staff are doing a great job but you have to look to improve. I will be helping Tony because he's a really busy man and we need to move things forward as a club.

"I have been involved in grassroots football in York for about seven or eight years through my three boys and I know people and what's going on. We need to tap into the talent locally because there are a lot of players that we are losing to other clubs around here and I am passionate that we should have an opportunity to develop them.

"It's great to see Tom Allan and Tom Platt coming through and you want to see that on a regular basis. Tony is working hard behind the scenes and (head of coaching) Richard Dryden is a fantastic coach who is putting his heart and soul into the club so I want to help these guys out.

"We need to get a team together to produce players in the long term. It won't be a quick fix.

"It will take time and a lot of effort but I am proud to be part of that."

When Cresswell announced his retirement four months ago, City were second-bottom in Sky Bet League Two after 18 games with many predicting a second successive dogfight for survival.

An incredible transformation has since propelled the club into the play-off positions with five games to go and the former top-flight star insists he had every confidence the team's fortunes would turn under manager Nigel Worthington.

"I knew the results would come," he reasoned. "The gaffer works tirelessly hard on the training ground, along with the rest of his staff.

"He has also got the players in that he wanted, which is key. The lads are keeping clean sheets and have got solid foundations.

"That is down to the management as well, because the players are working within a structure that has been put in place."